It's halfway through October. Fall, pretty leaves, pumpkins, apple picking, and your LAST CHANCE to get to the farmers' market. Yes, I'm talking to you. You who have been meaning to go all year, or have only gone once or twice. It's your last shot until next May...TAKE IT. Here are just a few reasons why:
You are here
I had the pleasure of spending last Sunday afternoon at the Sangamon River Forest Preserve near Fisher, Illinois. A relatively new park, it sits at a shallow spot in the river, surrounded by old-growth trees and restored prairie. It’s a lovely spot, with a history that illustrates how dramatically human intervention can reshape the landscape.
The first Farm Aid concert was held in Champaign in 1985, and 30 years later it is still going strong.
The first concert was supposed to be a one-off to help farmers in crisis--but the event turned into an organization that has been helping farmers ever since, as small family farms still-- maybe more than ever--need people and organizations to advocate for them.
Last week’s market got rained out. And it wasn’t the warm summer downpour that we’ve held multiple markets in, but rather a bone-chilling rainstorm that made the few vendors and TLC staff members that were there tremble under tree cover in hopes it would pass quickly. No such luck.
At the Farm Progress Show in Decatur last week, I saw encourging signs that even among conventional farmers there is growing recognition of the importance of sustainable farming practices. During two panel discussions, one on cover crops, the other on wildlife restoration, the conversation made it plain that protecting and rebuilding the health of our farmland is being accepted as a necessary component of farming, even among those who grow on an industrial scale.
Any journey might break you. A good journey will put you back together.
Rural road in Iganga district, on the way to class.
Farming is inherently beautiful.
The reorganization of soil, water, and sunlight into a rainbow of colors and all of the architectural combinations that we have not thought of yet, that end up reorganized yet again before they end up on our plates. And then there are the things that we farm, but don’t necessarily (and sometimes, necessarily) eat. The wood, fuels, fibers, and of course the flowers.
It was July of last year and I had just moved to Champaign. In fact, it was one of the first times I had even stepped foot on a farm. It was a beautiful, sunny, clear blue day. There was a slight breeze, and Tomahnous Farm was vast, green and gorgeous.
One thing you can't really avoid noticing when you're buying local food (or growing it yourself) is that stuff changes. Those gooseberries I enjoyed experimenting with a couple of months ago? Gone. That fresh asparagus I like so much? Sorry! Rhubarb? No.